Football heals communities after devastating tornadoes - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Football heals communities after devastating tornadoes

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DURANT, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Friday night tow teams sharing a common tragedy in their respective communities came together on the gridiron.

In April of this year, Smithville was hit by an EF-5 tornado.

The storm killed 17 people and leveled most of the school's campus.

The Seminole's head coach says football is a way the community returned to some semblance of routine.

"That's the hub of the community and that was one of the first goals of the community after the tornado was to get sports back because it brought a sense of normalcy back to the community. You know, that's about as quick as we could get it back that we thought of," said Smithville Head Coach, Bubba Tacker.

The city of Durant not only shared with Smithville the challenge of Friday's play-off game, but also the challenge of recovering from its own disaster.

It was April of 2010 that Durant was hit by an EF-4 tornado, which also damaged the school's facilities. 

Their head coach offered words of encouragement to his opponents.

"They will make it through. I know they will make it through because the community is behind them. Football is a game those guys have been playing for a long time and they want to win, it does a lot for the community," added Durant Head Coach, William "Sleepy" Robinson.

For student athletes in economically depressed communities who want to better themselves, athletics is a way out. But athletics is also a way through for communities dealing with disaster, grief and tragedy.

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